6. Zoo Tycoon series
Keeping people happy when they visit a theme park is tough enough. But imagine if you had to keep the attractions satisfied too! Well, that’s exactly what you’ll have to do in Zoo Tycoon. As the name suggests, you’ll oversee running and designing your very own zoo in all its business simulation glory.
You’ll spend considerable time buying and caring for animals, creating habitats, hiring staff members, and finding ways to attract new zoo visitors. There are also shops, picnic areas, and tons of other attractions for you to build. In addition, you’ll have to balance your finances while fending off rival zoo managers vying to steal your business. Disasters can also happen at any moment. Planted a tree near the chimpanzee enclosure? Well, no wonder they got out and wrecked everything!
The original Zoo Tycoon remains one of the best tycoon games of all time (or should we say, ‘beast’ tycoon games? Ha ha ha….. cough). Keen for something a bit newer? Check out the rebooted Zoo Tycoon 2013 or the new mobile edition.
7. Capitalism series
The Capitalism series doesn’t dress up your tycoon aspirations in any light-hearted way. No lively zoos, colorful theme parks, or quirky hospitals. Instead, this tycoon game is all business, literally! You start off with a small company with some starting capital. In true capitalistic fashion, your aim is to manage running costs as you slowly expand into a global empire. What’s unique about Capitalism is that you aren’t limited to just one kind of industry. For example, you can choose to start off in retail, but later move into manufacturing or even resource production. Think Richard Branson’s billionaire endeavors and you’ll get the drift of what this business simulation game is all about.
Capitalism also offers tough pre-made scenarios for you to overcome. These usually involve beginning with less income than your competitors as you fight to rise to the top of your cut-throat industry. You can moreover turn on stock market options for a deeper challenge. In addition, the game offers a wealth of info on branding and advertising, R&D, market analysis, and so on. Mastering these fields will help you stay ahead of the business curve. Miss important details and you might see your global conglomerate crumble before your eyes!
As you might have guessed, Capitalism caters to ‘serious’ business simulation addicts in search of the best tycoon games that offer nuanced complexity over streamlines. The series has moreover been used by Harvard and Standard University as educational tools for their students. That speaks volumes about the quality of these titles!
8. The Movies
The Movies takes you behind-the-scenes of the filmmaking business. You don’t really interact with your audience per se. Instead, most of your time is spent running your film studio, hiring crew members, and keeping your stars happy. Two main star-types are directors and actors. You’ll have to micromanage them a fair bit, ensuring they get regular work and salaries. Failure to do so may push one of your A-listers to binge-eat or become an alcoholic, giving you unwanted paparazzi troubles to deal with.
There are also other aspects to attend to. For example, you’ll need to make sure your studio has enough filming lots to work on. Moreover, it’s your role to make sure ample blockbuster scripts are continuously being written even as production rolls. The Movies also has a neat machinima editing feature, letting you create trailers that are judged based on their quality and production values. Expansion packs and modding tools further enhance the game with new costumes, props, and much more.
Overall, The Movies is by far one of the best tycoon games of its kind, allowing you to lift the curtains to live out your wildest Hollywood business dreams.
Constructor sees you playing the part of a property developer building homes for rent in your effort to grow a small fortune. You’ll take charge of setting rental prices, carrying out maintenance and repairs, and dealing with troublesome occupants. In addition, you’ll have to compete against rival construction companies, challenging you to manage your finances as you fight over the best property areas.
The game thrives on its playful mimicry of social classism and subcultures. For example, different types of buildings attract different types of people. Rich folks aren’t going to live in a shack and the poor can’t afford to live in fancy houses. Certain groups also just won’t get along. So, don’t house the punk rockers next to the hippies, or you’ll soon find yourself dealing with brawls and black eyes. Not to worry though! You can always hire illegal goons to take care of unwanted conflicts, gangster style. All of this is presented in a similar style of humor to Bullfrog’s Theme series.
All in all, Constructor is easily among the best tycoon games ever made, albeit an often overlooked one. You’ll do well to give this one a go before the new HD version comes out.
10. Fast Food Tycoon series
Aka Pizza Tycoon (and a variety of different names), the Fast Food Tycoon series doesn’t have the most complex business simulation games. However, don’t be surprised to find yourself sinking countless hours into trying to create the world’s ultimate pizzeria chain. You start out by creating a unique character (out of a whooping 800,000 permutations) before deciding on your first branch location and menu items. There are also design elements for you to choose from, including restaurant seats, decors, and so on, all of which help to keep your customers happy. In addition, the pricing of your food matters a lot. You’ll have to find a happy balance between generating profits while keeping things reasonable.
Like other best tycoon games, you’ll have to fight off pizzeria competitors as you micromanage staff members and improve upon your advertising strategies. There’s also quite a fair number of curveball events too. This is especially the case in ‘syndicate’ mode, where you can actually ‘die’ from failed Mafia assassination attempts!
Fast Food Tycoon games have enjoyed modest but not overwhelming success. Regardless, they’re still heaps of fun. Give them a try if you’re keen on playing more of the best tycoon games from days gone by.
Honorable Mentions (Other Best Tycoon Games)
We’d love to include even more best tycoon games. Problem is, if we did, the list would never end! Still, if we missed any of your favorites, leave a comment below and we’ll add them in.
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